Bell, Charles (1774-1842)

Bell, Sir Charles, famous for his discoveries in the nervous system, was born at Edinburgh in November 1774, the youngest of five sons of William Bell, an Episcopal clergyman. In 1804 he proceeded to London, where he lectured with great success on anatomy and surgery. In 1807 he distinguished between the sensory and motor nerves ill the brain. In 1812 he was appointed surgeon to the Middlesex Hospital, which his clinical lectures raised to the highest repute. To study gunshot wounds, he went to Haslar Hospital after Corunna in 1809, and after Waterloo took charge of an hospital at Brussels. In 1824 he became senior professor of Anatomy and Surgery to the College of Surgeons, and in 1826 head of the new medical school (University College), but soon resigned. Knighted in 1831, and professor of Surgery at Edinburgh from 1836, he died 28th April 1842. His works include Anatomy of Expression in Painting (1806), Anatomy of the Brain (1811), Animal Mechanics (1828), Nervous System of the Human Body (1830), and The Hand (Bridgewater Treatise, 1833). See Pichot's Vie et Travaux de Sir Charles Bell (1859), and his Correspondence (1870). To the same family belonged the Edinburgh surgeon, Joseph Bell(1837-1911), the original of 'Sherlock Holmes.'
1. Chamber's Biographical Dictionary, Philadelphia, 1926, page 85.

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